A sure and steadfast anchor

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Three times in the two-year cycle of Daily Office readings we get the chance to celebrate the “patronal feast,” so to speak, of the Daily Office Anchor Society.

“We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor for the soul” (Heb. 6:19).

The other readings assigned for today give us a sense of the particular flavor of the Christian hope.

Ezekiel is prophesying against Israel, speaking God’s word of wrath against the wayward people. “According to their way I will deal with them; according to their own judgments I will judge them. And they shall know that I am the Lord” (Ezek. 7:27). God is mighty and holy, and we are prone to fall away into sin and forget how we have been blessed.

Canticle 13, suggested for Tuesday mornings, is a song of praise, but it underscores God’s remoteness as we sing of God “seated between the Cherubim … in the high vault of heaven” (BCP 90).

In the reading from the Letter to the Hebrews, however, we see Jesus, our great high priest, bridging the gap between us and God. For “we have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters the inner shrine behind the curtain, where Jesus, a forerunner on our behalf, has entered, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Heb. 6:19-20).

No longer are we distant from the mighty and holy God, who in “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15). No longer can anything separate us from the love of God, for now God’s only Son intercedes for us. Jesus, having ascended into heaven, takes our humanity — takes us — with him into the inner shrine, into the presence of God. We now live for all time in the heart of God.

That intimate and enduring union with God is ours through Jesus, the “forerunner on our behalf,” and this particularly Christian hope is indeed a “sure and steadfast anchor” for our souls.

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